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Siskiyou National Monument

Thursday, May 25, 2017 - 10:30

Issue: Walden on Trump’s Recommendation to consider reversal of Siskiyou National Monument Expansion.

Background: Walden stated the following regarding Trump’s executive order to consider repeal of expansion of the Siskiyou National Monument: "In Oregon we've watched the problems left behind in the wake of national monument designations that lock up land without meaningful public input." (Oregonian May 9, 2017)

He states he’s contacted Secretary Zinkie to share “some of the concerns I’ve heard from county commissioners, local ranchers and landowners regarding concerns they have about expanding the boundaries of the monument.” (Walden EC Rdup quick update 5-23-17)

Lack of meaningful public input? Again, from the Oregonian: “Senator Merkley and former Deputy Secretary of the Interior Mike Connor held a hearing in Ashland, Oregon -- the closest city to the monument -- to solicit public comment on the proposed expansion of the monument. Approximately 500 citizens attended this meeting in Ashland, with 83 testifying in support and 36 in opposition. In addition to the public meeting hosted by Senator Merkley, there were three additional public hearings in Klamath Falls (hosted by Klamath County), in Medford (hosted by Jackson County), and in Yreka (hosted by Siskiyou County) that were attended by approximately 600 people. The testimony at these hearings was evenly divided between support for and opposition to the expansion.
Senators Merkley and Wyden also established a written comment period to continue receiving public comment on the expansion proposal, for both those who did not, or could not attend a public meeting  to be able to submit more detailed written recommendations. Senator Merkley’s office received a total of 5,488 comments, all of which were shared with the Department of Interior so that the Department and the White House could take the feedback into account. Of those comments, 4,313 commenters supported the monument and 1,175 were opposed.
In addition to the feedback and support from the general public, the Cascade-Siskiyou Monument expansion enjoyed robust support from state and local elected officials, tribes, citizens, chambers of commerce, conservationists, and many local landowners.”(Oregonian May 9, 2017)

In an effort to take all stakeholder’s concerns into consideration, compromises were made. For example, the proposed area was reduced in size to allow for grazing and timber harvest on several areas. In a compromise, no one gets everything they want. But to suggest this process lacked “meaningful public input” is a disingenuous statement. It panders to a narrow audience of Walden’s campaign contributors and slights all Oregonians who also wish to enjoy this jewel and see it protected. Also, it slights the importance and economic benefit that outdoor recreation brings rural communities. This latter sector is so important that Mr. Walden’s own subcommittee on digital commerce has made it a mandatory category in our nation’s GDP. (EC roundup: The Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection held a hearing titled "Outdoor Recreation: Vast Impact of the Great Outdoors" on April 27.

ACTION ITEM:

Write Walden and Zinke and remind them the expansion of the Siskiyou monument was the result of a fair process of public comment as is possible, was a compromise between all interests, and protects an Oregon Jewel for all Orgonians and not just his cattlemen, mining, and timber companies. https://walden.house.gov/contact-greg/email-me (Zinke’s contact is below)

Also, the DOI is soliciting public comment on the preserving our 27 national monuments; the deadline is Saturday, May 27.
Comments may be submitted online at http://www.regulations.gov by entering “DOI-2017-0002” in the Search bar and clicking “Search,” or by mail to Monument Review, MS-1530, U.S. Department of the Interior, 1849 C Street NW, Washington, DC 20240.

Your comments also can be sent to Secretary Zinke: exsec@ios.doi.gov

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